Green Tips: Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling Christmas Leftovers

Christmas season generates a lot of items that used to end up in the trash, but many can now be recycled. Of course it’s best if you can avoid generating the waste in the first place. See this Waste Management Greener Holidays page for ideas.

Recycle the following items:

  • Styrofoam: at Styrorecycle on the west side of Ikea in Renton all year long. They accept clean white Styrofoam (#6 or EPS) materials, the types most commonly found with new electronic products, appliance packaging, computers and monitors, furniture packaging and picnic/shipping coolers. They also take clean packing peanuts, both Styrofoam and starch which are passed on for reuse. They must be clean with no foreign material mixed in. They do NOT accept material that isn’t clean, Styrofoam food containers, urethane foam cushions, expanded polypropylene (EPP), foam insulation, plastic wrap, bubble wrap or hard plastics.To determine if you have the right material look for the “#6” or “EPS” inside the recycle symbol, if it’s sheet material bend it – it should break and snap with loose beads. All foreign material like plastic sheeting, tape, staples and cardboard must be removed.
  • Christmas Trees: In your yard waste (Ornaments and other non-biodegradable items need to be removed, check with your waste collection company to see how much cutting you need to do) or at the Boy Scout Fund Raiser Sat and Sun Jan 2nd & 3rd at Herr Backyard Garden Center from 9 AM to 4PM. 107 Southwest 160th Street in Burien. Donations requested.
  • Boxes and wrapping paper: In with your regular recycling as long as you’ve removed ribbons, bows and any other non-recyclable material. Foil wrappings, wrapping with embedded material and other non-paper wrappings are not recyclable.
  • Electronics: Under a Washington State law that went into effect January 1, 2009,  TVs, computers, monitors and laptops can be recycled for free at many locations. Usable, working items can be dropped off at most charities who will resell them. Dead or out-dated items can be recycled at a number of locations. Personally I suggest taking all electronics to RE-PC in Tukwila or South Seattle. They will resell what they can, and what can’t be sold is recycled properly and locally through Total Reclaim which is important. Some recycling locations ship material out of State or worse yet out of the country for “recycling” and that can cause big problems. See our archived tip for details. If all you’ve got is items that can’t be resold, save a step and take them all to Total Reclaim. Contact them to see what else they’ll take.
  • For other Holiday related items: See the links in the top right corner of this King County Solid Waste Page. That page will also let you look up many other types of material, from animal waste to vehicles. Be sure to check for the best deal in your area. For instance some places charge more for alkaline battery recycling than others. Compare prices and locations.